Penn State football players will not wear additional masks on field against Iowa


STATE COLLEGE, PA – OCTOBER 31: Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions speaks to Jahan Dotson #5, KeAndre Lambert-Smith #13, and Parker Washington #3 during the second half at Beaver Stadium on October 31, 2020 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

(Updated 11/20/20 at 12:50 pm to reflect Penn State’s current masking protocols) –
When Penn State football hosts Iowa on Saturday, the Nittany Lions will not wear additional face coverings on the field during the game.

In a statement to abc27, Penn State said “As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and staff is paramount. The Governor’s new orders include limited exceptions for competition to be played without face coverings in the context of rigorous and stringent University and Big Ten testing, health and safety protocols.”

UPDATE: Penn State has advised abc27 that some players do already utilize plastic face shields in their helmets while playing, and will continue to do so.

On Tuesday, the PA Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine strengthened the state wide mask mandate to include more instances where masks are required, including in athletics.

In the Frequently Asked Questions portion of the Department of Health’s Universal Masking Policy, the state clarifies “coaches, athletes (including cheerleaders), and spectators must wear face coverings if they cannot maintain sustained physical distance from persons outside of their household. This includes while actively engaged in workouts, competition, and on the sidelines, in the dugout, etc. If sustained six-foot distancing can be maintained, face coverings may be removed when outdoors.”

The Associate Athletics Director for Strategic Communications, Kristina Petersen told abc27 “[Penn State] will not be changing how we have approached the use of shields, gaiters, etc.” Petersen goes on to clarify that Penn State is already following strict protocols as it relates to masks and testing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Penn State reaffirms that all other personnel will still be required to wear masks, and “will continue to enforce this guideline at our events.”

Kickoff inside Beaver Stadium against Iowa is Saturday, November 21 at 3:30 in the afternoon. The game will be broadcast on Big Ten Network.

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